Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
July 29th, 1913
Will Frank’s lawyers put any evidence before the court?
That is a question that was much discussed on the opening day by a score or more of lawyers who secured seats in the courtroom in order to hear the trial and to watch the way in which the skilled attorneys on both sides handled the case.
The fact that so many witnesses have been summoned by the defense does not mean to the legal mind that Attorneys Rosser and Arnold will put up any evidence any more than the summoning of scores of the accused man’s personal friends means that Frank’s lawyers will put his character in evidence.
The presence of the witnesses may mean that the defense will, as usual, use them, or it may mean that they merely subpoenaed them to keep the state from learning in advance that they did not intend to put up any evidence.
There is a certain advantage in some cases in not putting up any evidence for the defense. It gives the defending attorneys the right to close in the addresses to the jury and frequently it delivers to the jury a message that the defense regards the state’s accusations as of so little weight and importance that they do not have to rebut them.
In many famous cases, although these are in the minority, the defense has been content to cross-examine the state’s witnesses and then to close without putting up any of their own. The discussion proved an interesting one during the recess for lunch Monday.